Hip Replacement Surgery
Friday, June 26, 2020
I had been needing this surgery for literally years (started having pain back in 2007 and 2008), and I could hardly believe that it was finally going to happen. It was scheduled for Monday, June 22nd. I already knew that this doctor was, shall we say, extra careful, when he wouldn't let me have the surgery back in December or January, because my hemoglobin was a tiny bit low. Apparently that means that, if I had had a complication requiring a transfusion, my risk of infection would have gone up 8%.
When he told me 8%, I was all but rolling my eyes and saying, "Who cares?" Which would have been pointless, because, obviously, he cared. So I had to re-schedule for later. And then, corona virus happened, but, more important than that, my son Danny got much sicker, and my own health was the last thing on my mind. :-(
So, after Danny had died, and I started to be able to think of other things a little bit, I contacted my doctor, who had let me know earlier that he was once again able to do elective surgeries. He lives and works in Georgia, which was, I believe, the first state to open up again significantly. He gave me a possible date of June 22nd, and I started doing the preliminary things I needed to do - get my dentist to clear me for surgery, get my PCM to clear me for surgery, get a corona virus test (extremely painful, I might mention), etc.
My hemoglobin was good, as I knew it would be. (I think the lab that did my bloodwork in January screwed up badly, but of course can't prove it.) Everything was a go. So my son got us very inexpensive plane tickets on Southwest, and we left Texas on Saturday, the 20th.
Showed up at 10 A.M. on the 22nd at the hospital, and went through all sorts of unpleasant pre-surgery things. Then they wanted a urine test. For whatever reason, they had not requested one at my presurgery appointment with my primary-care doctor. Lo and behold, I had a completely asymptomatic urinary-tract infection. I mean, zero symptoms. And this doctor is pretty paranoid about infections. He just will not do a surgery if the patient is not as close to perfectly healthy as possible. I was having visions of going back home without the surgery even happening.
However, he suggested treating the UTI with strong antibiotics and checking the urine again the next day. I agreed. This did mean changing the plane reservation, the rental car reservation, the motel reservation, and the long-term parking reservation, but we did all that.
Next day, we showed up at the hospital again, I had another urine test.....and the infection was worse. Exclamation point. I was SO upset. One of the nurses even said that the doctor wouldn't do the surgery. But he turned out to be unexpectedly willing to be flexible. He said that, with an asymptomatic infection (my goodness, if I had had a symptom, I would have been beating down my PCM's door for antibiotics), the increased risk for infection and/or problems healing was not that great, and, if I was willing to take the risk, he would do the surgery. I said that I was willing to take the risk. Boy, was I willing to take the risk!
I meant to ask the anesthesiologist to not use Versed, because it takes away all memory, but I forgot, so he did use it. I remember nothing of anything before the surgery, or after the surgery - to include the surgeon's talking to me afterwards. (And I put it in the evaluation form that he hadn't spoken to me after the surgery - oh, dear!) The first thing I remember was the nurses trying to get me to stand up from a wheelchair, and then into bed.
The surgery was very successful, actually. No infections so far, no problems healing, no blood clots (another thing the surgeon worries about a LOT). I wasn't prepared for the amount of pain, but truly it was only bad that night (Tuesday). By Wednesday it was much more bearable, and now, on Friday, I am not using much pain medicine at all. However, it is very difficult for me to get around, either with crutches or a walker. Yesterday, at the airports coming home, I had to be in a wheelchair all the time, except getting on the planes themselves. And it was very hard, very painful, and very slow just to get to my seat in the very front of the plane.
It still hurts to get around, but I am trying my best. The pain is lower, but I have to keep taking most of my meds till they are done, in particular the 'blood thinner.' Did I mention he is very worried about blood clots? And I can't drive for six weeks!!! Or even shower for 12 days!! This does not make me a happy camper. But it will all be worth it, if I am able to walk again without pain, and have a better quality of life. Hey, I won't even need the handicapped placard anymore - awesomeness!